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Andrew Sutherland "Sutho" (Surrey outposts)
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'Til The Band Comes In
'Til The Band Comes In
Price: £7.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Walker's half-brilliant 'bridging' album, containing at least one Masterpiece, 10 Sep 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
It's apt really that '`Til the Band Comes In' (1970) shows such a pronounced split between its two sides (Side A featuring original material, some of it excellent; Side B consisting almost entirely of covers, most of them dreary) because it can be seen very much as a 'bridging' album for Walker: the four preceding albums, Scotts 1-4 are the stuff of legend, each progressively darker and more idiosyncratic than the last, as Walker gradually shed his teen appeal, and moved away from classic ballads and Broadway hits towards Brel covers and his own, much more interesting material. But he always struggled to balance his own stuff with the demands of the entertainment industry and later 70s work saw Walker losing that battle, reverting to schmaltzy film tunes and country covers (before eventually moving towards a new, avant-garde sound in the 80s). All of which makes '`Til the Band Comes In' a fascinating halfway-point artefact if nothing else; the sound of a man straddling two eras, with one foot still in his creative past and another heading towards his tamer near-future. Which would be reason enough to take interest I suppose were it not for the fact that '`Til the Band Comes In' actually does stand on its own merits for the most part; this is much more than merely a curio, it's a sporadically excellent album. Conventional critical wisdom that the covers on Side B let the album down is about right; presumably a compromise with the record company and a sad signal of the rot that would eventually set in (although they're boring rather than plain awful; Walker's voice is too good for that). What's more, the Walker originals on Side A, though good, are mostly are a step down from those on Scotts 3 and 4, or at least, they don't display the same growth which those records did. Be that as it may, there's still room for some exquisite moments, and from Side A there are three or four tracks which surely rank among his best work, particularly the rousing-but-melancholic title track, the jazzy, measured 'Time Operator' and the gorgeous epilogue 'The War Is Over'. And then there's the real standout: 'Thanks For Chicago Mr. James' - an absolute Masterpiece. And by Masterpiece, I really do mean a a 24-carat, Chateux-bottled, ocean going, copper-bottomed, nuclear-powered MASTERPIECE. Two minutes of heartbreaking perfection sung as only Scott can sing. That song alone would justify the admission price. Factor the rest of Side A into account and you're looking a genuinely worthy addition to the Walker catalogue.


Graco Evo Pushchair 2014 Range (Khaki)
Graco Evo Pushchair 2014 Range (Khaki)
Price: £179.99

4.0 out of 5 stars Excellent pushchair with reversible seat – everything you could hope for, for less than £200., 9 Sep 2014
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
I’ve not used this in combination with the Graco car seat or carrycot; only as a pushchair – but as a pushchair I’ve found the Graco Evo to be first-rate: first thing you notice is the decent build-quality - it feels reassuringly sturdy, but at the same time it’s relatively lightweight and easy/responsive to steer. It also folds down quickly and easily for putting in the car, making it a very portable option, despite the fact that it has a really generous basket underneath that will accommodate quite a lot of kit/shopping. Its pièce de résistance though is the reversible seat, meaning you have the option of front or rear-facing travel (very handy). It also folds down completely flat for better snoozing. Throw the option of a compatible car seat into the mix and I cannot think what else you would want for this price. In terms of the criticisms: I’m 6ft and don’t particularly struggle with it, whereas others have criticised the lack of extendibility. Others have also criticised the suspension but on a typical street there’s no problem; I guess off road it is a little bumpy but no more so than any other pram with plastic tyres, which, personally, I prefer anyway (no risk of damage and easy to clean).


Melissa & Doug Chalk and Eraser Bundle (White)
Melissa & Doug Chalk and Eraser Bundle (White)
Price: £6.29

2.0 out of 5 stars Too breakable for very young artists, 8 Sep 2014
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
I was pretty underwhelmed by this if I’m honest – what you’re buying is a pack of white chalks, a pack of coloured chalks and a duster that works on blackboards and whiteboards. The chalks are too thin for toddlers – they snap each time they’re dropped on our tiled kitchen floor, or even if they’re just used with abandon. For older children this perhaps isn’t an issue. But they arrive so tightly packed together that it was virtually impossible to avoid breaking a few as you get them out the pack. The duster is fine as duster’s go but I prefer to use a damp cloth- duster’s always leave behind chalk residue and this one’s no different. All in all: underwhelming.


Golden Bear 28cm Henry Hugglemonster Roar Back
Golden Bear 28cm Henry Hugglemonster Roar Back
Price: £23.99

5.0 out of 5 stars Henry Hugglemonster Echolalia Rules OK, 3 Sep 2014
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
This talking Henry Hugglemonster toy is ace: squeeze one of Henry's hands and he speaks some pre-recorded snippets, but squeeze the other and he silently records whatever you say to him, his nose blinking red to let you know he's taking it in, and then when you're done he says it right back to you in his own high-pitched voice, his mouth opening and closing during playback. It's marketed as `Hear Henry Hugglemonster Roar Back' but really it's a case of hear `Hear Henry Hugglemonster Parrot Back Whatever You Vocalise At Him' (less catchy, admittedly). My little boy, who is non-verbal, has taken a real shine to Henry and they have been spending a lot of time just laughing at each other and he is even beginning to vocalise with him a bit, which is really nice to see. Then, after bed time, his mother and I have a turn - I especially like having Henry do human beatbox or just utter coarse profanities. Little things please little minds. Vocalising aside, it's a decent quality toy - super-soft and tactile and robustly made.


My First Crayola Doodle Magic Mat
My First Crayola Doodle Magic Mat
Price: £15.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Bold idea, drab colours, 1 Sep 2014
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
This is a pretty good idea- special colour pens that will only actually make their mark on the large, reusable 'magic mat' provided. But the reality is that the pens will only make very faint and dull, washed-out looking marks - nothing like the vivid pictures shown. Not great for £20. So in my view if you want risk-free drawing (that is, something that isn't going to wreck your carpet) then you're better off either with an Aquadoodle or something similar (same principle, i.e. oversized mat but using a water-based pen rather than ink). Or a magnetic drawing board (Etch-A-Sketch type-princuple).. the Tomy Megasketcher is excellent for this. Or just a very large roll of paper and conventional, washable felt tips (I recommend the Melissa & Doug Easel Paper Roll- we just tape a huge sheet to cover the entire tabletop). Or chalk!


Discraft 175g Ultrastar (Bright Red)
Discraft 175g Ultrastar (Bright Red)
Price: £10.79

5.0 out of 5 stars There's quality in everything: even Frisbees, 1 Sep 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
I had never previously given much thought to Frisbee quality. A Frisbee is a Frisbee, I had thought. Wrong. My nan always told me: "There's quality in everything" and, it transpires, this wisdom extends to Frisbees. I hadn't chucked one in years but had a hankering recently and plumped for this. It is immense. Gives the truest, purest most satisfying flight I have ever seen: I am utterly addicted. A robust, weighty disc (which, be warned, could cause serious injury if it connects with a child or pet at full pelt) that just feels 'right' in the hand and looks like it'll last a lifetime. Heartily recommended. If you want a Frisbee, look no further.


L'Amour
L'Amour
Offered by Side Two
Price: £12.79

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Behind every great album there's an even better backstory, 1 Sep 2014
This review is from: L'Amour (Audio CD)
First, buy this CD whilst you still can: the label, Light In The Attic (LITA), have now said that once it's OOP they will not be re-pressing it out of respect to the artist who made this 'vanity album' in L.A. as a private press in 1983 and apparently has no interest in receiving any royalties from its re-release. In fact, it had languished in total obscurity until LITA reissued it in 2014, after an original copy of the LP had been chanced upon in some Canadian flea-market and shared on the internet as a curio. LITA tried and failed to track down its creator, about whom precious little was known save for the fact that 'Lewis' was a pseudonym - real name: Randall Wulff. Canadian. Dated a model. Drove a white convertible Mercedes. And apparently paid for the cover photo with a cheque that bounced, after which he skipped town, never to be heard from again... whereabouts utterly unknown. That's it! A riddle wrapped in a mystery inside an enigma. A second album - 'Romantic Times' - was subsequently re-released after being rediscovered in the warehouse of some Canadian record store a short while after, with Wulff *eventually* being found alive and well in Canada later in 2014. He apparently had no idea about the recent interest in his old records and didn't care in the slightest, rejecting the offer of royalties that had been set aside in an escrow. So, what of the album? Well, the movie-star cover pic is at once evocative of the music but also wholly misrepresentative of it; this is a strange and singular-sounding record; there's absolutely nothing brassy or gauche or New Wave/80s-L.A. sounding about it - quite the opposite. No macho posturing here... it's an inchoate, gentle, ghostly, ethereal-sounding assemblage of blurry, downtempo love songs - very difficult to neatly describe: all introversion and gossamer textures... but with perfect hair. Smooth synthesizers, kinda reminiscent of Angelo Badalamenti, occupy the background, with Wulff's mumbled, whispery vocals (mostly indecipherable) and gently strummed acoustic guitar and so-softly-keyed piano at the 'fore' (bad choice of word since this is a record that lives OUT of the spotlight). Shades of Arthur Russel's 'World Of Echo' - that's the most obvious reference point - or perhaps, I thought, Paul Buchanan or even Mark Hollis; there's the same feathery/dreamlike air to it... the same delicate melancholy... the word is: wistful. I've read reviews citing comparisons with Springsteen's 'Nebraska' - which are apt in a sense, even though musically and lyrically it isn't a precise match, but they do share the same *mood-space*, which matters, because this really is a record all about 'mood'. It's music to drift to, to be carried along with. 'Dreamy' would be the obvious adjective, but that implies a carefree and light-hearted quality which it most definitely lacks. There's an otherworldliness to it that's difficult to place or define. Guaranteed to populate 'best-album-you've-never-heard'-type lists for years to come, I'm sure. This is a wondrous record.


Melissa & Doug Reusable Sticker Pad Bundle
Melissa & Doug Reusable Sticker Pad Bundle
Price: £9.50

4.0 out of 5 stars A Tenner's worth of Reusable Stickers - Good value x2, 30 Aug 2014
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
I love the fact that these Melissa & Doug sticker pads are re-useable – for a tenner that represents hugely good value; each page gives you a scene/backdrop and the repositionable stickers can then be stuck on and taken off and re-stuck elsewhere as many times as you like. These ones are ‘play house’ and 'habitat' themed so the backgrounds are all of rooms in the home (for play house) and wildlife settings (for habitat) onto which the various stickers (of kids and homewares and animals) can be placed to bring the scenes to life.


Melissa & Doug Stack and Count Parking Garage
Melissa & Doug Stack and Count Parking Garage
Price: £14.99

0 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Well-built, pleasingly simple, charming toy, 27 Aug 2014
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
First thing to say is that, as with other Melissa & Doug wooden toys I've seen, the Stack and Count Parking Garage is of excellent build-quality, being robustly constructed from brightly-coloured wood rather than cheap flimsy plastic. The pieces are all chunky and it feels substantial and in no danger of breaking, unlike to many toys these days. Visually, there's a charming retro quality to it, too; they seem to have cornered the market for simple, classic-looking, educational toys. Although I dare say that matters less to the child! In this case, I was unsure as to whether it would actually appeal, such is its simplicity - but my son has taken to it; essentially it's all about stacking 10 brightly-coloured little wooden cars in a vertical `garage'; the spaces are numbered so this could theoretically form the basis of some early arithmetic learning but it works well enough just as a test of the child's dexterity.


Melissa & Doug Verdie Chameleon Bubble Blower
Melissa & Doug Verdie Chameleon Bubble Blower
Price: £5.99

3.0 out of 5 stars Cute but no cigar, 23 Aug 2014
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
Really cute bubble blower of decent build quality and good for little hands to grasp, but no better than any cheap disposable in terms of the quality or volume of bubbles produced; its USP is that the child purses his/her lips around the tube and blows it like they would a whistle, which is a little easier to do than for regular blowers, but that has its drawbacks too insofar as it does generate a whistling noise, which is distracting, and the loading mechanism for the bubble solution is cumbersome (much simpler and cleaner with conventional blowers to just 'dip' the wand into a receptacle than with this, which requires first decanting the solution into the tiny tray provided, which is easily knocked-over!).


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